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Vivian Cheng

Health Science, '18


Delivery of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles via Biodegradable PLGA Dissolving Microneedles for Sustainable Release

Mentor: Wilfred Ngwa, PhD (Dana Farber Cancer Institute)

Microneedles are finely tuned, localized needles utilized to distribute a wide range of drugs, vaccines and biotherapeutics in small quantities. They are minimally invasive devices that pass the outermost skin barrier, also known as stratum corneum. This research aims to observe microneedles combined with nanoparticles. Nanoparticles cannot bypass the stratum corneum easily; so in conjunction with microneedles, this platform will increase diffusion of nanoparticles into skin. Working in collaboration with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Northeastern University, I will be fabricating a biodegradable polymer microneedle composed of a Poly lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) through the use of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) molds and photolithography. With these biologically engineered dissolving needles, I will experiment with varying needle lengths affect on nanoparticle duration time and the release titanium dioxide nanoparticles loaded into microneedles to later on inject into subcutaneous skin of mice in future studies. This is to determine an optimal concentration level for loading nanoparticles. Previous studies with dissolving microneedles, display that PLGA is biodegradable in correlation to its crystallinity. A high crystallinity causes a slow degradation rate. Because of it’s low toxicity and slow degradation, PLGA will break gradually break down without harming healthy surrounding tissue as well as have greater controlled and sustained release over two weeks. Therefore, it can effectively increase transdermal release throughout the body. Going forward, I will work with in vitro cell culturing of A549 cancer cells and graphene oxide nanoparticles under radiation therapy. Then, I will move on to titanium dioxide nanoparticles, and then attempt observe the release rate of fluorescence from polymeric microneedles in aqueous solutions.

Vivian observing A549 cells in an light microscope. Source: